Can you remember your favourite teddy? Mine was called, (wait for it....), Ted. He had slightly dangly eyes, was practically bald and had lost an ear in a close encounter with our dog. But I loved that bear, and just thinking of him now has put a goofy smile on my face.
I suspect Kilmeny Niland loves teddies, too. Her picture book, Two Tough Teddies, was published by Little Hare Books in 2007. It is a lovely story about two abandoned teddy bears who set off to find someone to love them. To try to attract attention, Tilly and Gruffy make themselves tough, but their plan backfires. And then they meet Molly-Sue.
Niland's illustrations are so delightfully textured, you want to stroke the teddies' fur. There are lots of details for young eyes to notice, yet the pages are not cluttered. Like many good picture books, Niland has used repetition to give the story structure, and make it satisfying. It is very satisfying - I predict pre-schoolers will love listening to it being read aloud.
As a follow-up to this story, you could discuss "tough" with your children. What does tough mean? Who do they know that's tough? They could draw themselves being tough, talk about times when "tough" could be a problem, or make a wordle filled with "tough" words. Older children might like to research the history of the teddy bear. What has a teddy got to do with a US President? Are there any famous teddy bears in literature?
How about a Teddy Bear's Picnic? You could dress up your teddies as famous people, or give them beary cute names like Bearbarian or Bearacuda. What sort of food could you make for your picnic? Write some invitations, write a menu, or create a new recipe.
Your teddy will love you for it!
(Find more book reviews and literacy activities in the archive, or at www.susanstephenson.com.au)